Vegetables – yes they are good for you…. even for retired people. See the latest research in the Lancet.

A recent large, long term, 5 continent study in the Lancet shows that eating 3-4 servings of fruits, vegetables or legumes every day is associated with a 22% lower risk of death from any cause. Eating more then 3-4 servings of fruits/vegetables/legumes every day did not show any association with risk of death. Raw vegetable intake was strongly associated with a lower risk of death, whereas cooked vegetable intake showed less impact on risk of death. A higher level of texture in food is related to increased neuro-regeneration, which is an agreement with the findings of this study regarding raw vegetables.

A second report of the same population in the same issue of the Lancet reported on fat and carbohydrate intake.

  1. High carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of death from all causes
  2. Total fat and individual types of fat were associated with a lower risk of death for all causes.
  3. Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular disease deaths”.
  4. A higher intake of saturated fat was associated with a lower risk of stroke but no other outcomes

The relationship between carbohydrates and risk of death was true for Asian countries who traditionally consume a higher proportion of carbohydrates. There was no relationship between protein intake and mortality.


The relationship between hip-waist circumference, cognitive functioning, physical activity and family history of premature death were not included in these two studies.


This is an important study because it has been done recently, it includes 18 countries in 5 continents and included 135,335 individuals aged 35 to 70 years without cardiovascular disease. Participants were enrolled into the study between Jan 1, 2003, and March 31, 2013. For the current analysis, they included all outcomes events to March 31, 2017. The oldest subjects would be 74 at the end of the study. There was a median 7.4 years (5·5–9·3) of follow-up. The study results included an analysis of income, education, economic status of the country and urban rural location and the results were the not affected by these factors

Practical implications for your daily food plan

Using the optimum percentage of carbohydrates and fat from the Lancet study the following table shows the distribution of macronutrients in three different scenarios.

Ideal 1500 cal 2000 cal 2500 cal
Carbohydrates 45% 174 gm 230 gm 288 gm
Protein 19% 71 gm 95 gm 119 gm
Fat 35% 58 gm 78 gm 97gm

I investigated some on-line diet and nutrition website to find out if their food plans come close to the ratios above. Very few of the sites posted the fat/protein/carbohydrates of their diet plans and those that did, did not come close to these ratios except for the food plans posted by the American Diabetes Association. Their site has multiple food plans with the total fat/protein/carbohydrate for the day as well as recipes.

Here is how two of their meal plans compare to the ideal ratios reported in the Lancet study. These two sample meal plans are a bit lower in fat than the optimum ratios reported in the Lancet study. However, the ADA was the only site that I found that reported macronutrients as well as recipes for their food plans. So it appears the meal planning done for diabetics fits right into the ratios reported in the Lancet study and so could be a universal model for everyone.

Diabetes Association Meal Plan international flavours Grilling up Healthy Meals
gm Calories % of calories gm Calories % of calories
Carbohydrate 189 756 45% 196 784 51%
Protein 107 428 25% 92 368 24%
Fat 55 495 29% 44 396 26%
Calories 1679 100% 1548 100%

Meal Plan for international flavours
1 serving of Baked Egg with Avocado, Tomato and Citrus Salad
1 slice whole wheat toast
1 cup Blueberry Silken Smoothie

1 serving Roasted Beet, Apple and Queso Fresco Salad
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1 cup Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Afternoon Snack
1/4 cup Power Granola
1 cup sliced apples

1 serving Mojo-Marinate Pork Tenderloin
3/4 cup Congrí Light
1 cup Cubano Roasted Broccoli Florets

Evening Snack
Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Parfait

Save up to 25% on your next vacation for the New Year!